A civil rights organisation, Coalition of Civil Society Groups on Wednesday shut down the entrance of the National Assembly and Ministry of Education in Abuja protesting against the sacking of 13 Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, describing it as illegal.
The chairman of the coalition , Bassey Williams Etuk, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, of his appointment “because he knows nothing”.
According to him, the sacking of the VCs and their replacement with people mostly from the North violated the federal character principles.
“Six Professors were taken from Bayero University, Kano as replacement… Haba! Why? “, one of their placards reads.
They chanted solidarity songs including “Adamu must go”, “reinstate the sacked VCs now” and “Nigeria needs a better administrator in the Education Ministry”, among other invective.
A petition to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, was received on their behalf by the National Assembly Deputy Sergeant-At-Arms, Dennis Maaji.
The group gave the Minister 48 hours to reverse the sack and resign his appointment “because he doesn’t seem to understand the working of University system and administration.”
Etuk said the coalition would be heading to court to stop the sack as the tenure of five of the sacked VCs were yet to expire.
The protesters also barricaded the Federal Ministry of Education, located at Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
He said, “The minister do not have any right to call for the sack of 13 Vice Chancellors. Nine of the 13 sacked Vice Chancellors, their tenure was to expire this last Monday. But four, their tenure is still running; some have two years, some have one year and six months.
“What he did which is most disrespectful to the laws of the land is that he appointed six people, his friends from one university.
“He appointed six professors from one university, Bayero University, Kano and he posted them to different tertiary institutions. Not only that, he also appointed two professors from Katsina State, making it eight friends from the just two states in north.
“We came here to tell him that Nigeria is not a sectional country; we are one indivisible Nigeria, nobody should separate us. Nobody should play sentiments with our economy and education sectors.
“The academic community has been here even before the minister was born, he cannot come and change it. Our appeal to him is to honourably reverse the decision
Let’s agree with him that what he did was wrong, that he did it in a haste. We are here to tell him that he should please reserve that decision within 48 hours with immediate effects. If does not do that under 48 hours, we will call for his resignation.
Etuk said the coalition would be heading to court to stop the sack as the tenure of five of the sacked VCs were yet to expire,” he concluded.